Thursday, October 28, 2004

Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line

I don’t know what that has to do with anything in this post, but I felt like saying it. So there.

There’s a relatively new Volkswagen commercial that I’ve seen a couple of times. It invokes several urges in me. Unfortunately for Volkswagen, none of them is the urge to go out and buy their car.

The commercial shows a woman in her late twenties/early thirties driving along farm roads. Sprinklers are running in the fields she’s passing. A shot of the interior shows that every few seconds the car seems to be jerking, like the engine is not hitting on all cylinders. An overhead show shows the car pulling to the side of the road. The woman gets out, opens the back door and now you see the source of the problem. There is a toddler, somewhere in the two to three range, who has been swinging his feet, kicking the back of Mom’s (as we now know her) seat. She reaches in and …

Adjusts the seat backwards, thereby moving Junior far enough away so that his precious little tootsie-wootsies no longer reach the back of Mama’s seat. (Obviously Junior is deficient in the brains area as he tries to kick the back of Mama’s seat and can’t quite reach. Any toddler worth his salt would know that SLOUCHING DOWN in the car-seat is good for at least another two to three inches of reach) The marketing tag is that the new Volkswagen ________ (I’m too lazy to look up the model) has WAY more room than before.

Let’s just say that if that was MY child, the part after the ellipse two paragraphs above would have been DRAMATICALLY different.

I spend all my time in this commercial yelling at the Mom to quit tolerating Junior’s bad behavior and do something radical like telling him to STOP. Instead she simply removes him from the situation. Don’t get me wrong, that CAN be a good solution. (I've used it myself a time or two.) Maybe it’s just that over the years I’ve seen this technique used by too many parents, specifically the ones that wind up with kids who act like devil-spawn because they’ve never heard “NO” spoken and meant and they’ve never had any limits placed on their behavior.

I get this mental picture of Junior as a surly 10 year-old, still kicking the back of Mom’s seat because she won’t take him to the skate park so he can hang out with his other delinquent buddies. And Mom is still trying to be non-confrontational by moving her seat as far forward as possible.


Maybe I just need therapy.

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